In an effort to improve the living conditions and services available to the Arroyo Seco community, the Arroyo Seco Citizens Association (ASCA) decided in 2018 to investigate obtaining true high-speed internet to the region. Philip Coelho a local home owner and ASCA board member along with fellow ASCA Directors Erich Rauber, Peter Garin formed a committee to bring high speed internet in to the Arroyo Seco. The committee investigated whether these important services could be financed through government grants or private funding. It soon became clear that neither government grants nor private funding could be attracted until important infrastructure capabilities, competent management and a detailed business plan could be assembled. This was the classic “chicken or egg” situation as none of these indispensable requirements existed.
The committee then explored whether a locally based wireless internet service provider (WISP) could be formed to provide a reliable and affordable premium high-speed internet service for Arroyo Seco. If that was possible, the ASCA BOD could then consider whether they should have any direct involvement in such an enterprise. However, our projected infrastructure start-up costs were quite high and there was no way to predict how many of the ~130 local households would be willing to purchase these services. Consequently, it was the unanimous conclusion of the ASCA BOD that it was too risky a venture to invest ASCA 501c3 funds.
Nevertheless, Most Arroyo Seco residences are aware that the only available internet service in area is by satellite, which is much slower andless reliable than most areas in other California communities that have access to more traditional Internet Service Providers delivered via Cable or Fiber Satellite service during high traffic times, when it is needed most, the very low upload and download speeds, the incurable latency that is intrinsic to geostationary satellites 22,000 miles distant from customers, and the very limited data available for each customer result in significant performance deficiencies.
The committee then performed a small survey of HughesNet customers and found the monthly price paid ranged from
$95 to $160. Those paying the higher prices were those who ran through their allotted MB capacity early in the month and had to spend the premium to obtain higher MB capacity, and/or rented a satellite phone from HughesNet to assist their means of communication. In addition, even if they rented a router with WIFI, the data transmission speeds were so low they could not use their cell phones at their houses, so had to spend $65 a month to AT&T to maintain a land line telephone. So, we are all paying $160 to $215 per month for lousy performance. This survey also revealed that some people have no interest in high speed internet, but most wanted to do one, or all, of the following:
- Call, or receive calls, with their cell phone anywhere in their house and throughout their yard,
- Use their cell phone, when traveling, to view through a security camera installed at their house.
- Attend video conferences from the comfort of their home to cut down on unnecessary travel
- Live stream high definition movies without spooling delays
Each of these perfectly reasonable wishes require much faster speeds than those provided by any satellite companies.
Each ASCA director on the Committee wanted all of these uses. My residences have spoken especially of missing a critical call about some accident involving a family member while staying or ;living in the area. Consequently, the committee began in earnest to try to assemble the elements of a WISP that could be financed privately and managed locally.
First, the committe searched for, and located, an individual with the experience and executive skills to set up and manage a local WISP to provide the desired service. Gregg Garcia, currently serving as Director of Engineering (DOE) for Sonoma Media Group, LLC. Is an RF and Audio engineer, focused on RF and Computer technologies for the Radio Broadcast Industry for over 40 years. He developed an interest in the project, and the region, and agreed to serve as President and CEO of this start-up company and become a significant investor. Gregg was the Founder of Ruralnet Wireless in 2005, a fixed wireless broadband internet provider in Southern Arizona and parts of Northern California around Sacramento and the Sierra foothills.
In response to Gregg’s commitment to the venture Philip Coelho, Erich Rauber and Peter Garin agreed to join Gregg and form Arroyo Seco Internet, LLC.(ASI) in order to provide the required additional startup capital in return for smaller shares of the company. Most recently, Tom Mooneyham, just retired and moved from King City to Arroyo Seco and a wireless specialist, has agreed to invest in and join the Company in order to support ASI’s customer service needs.